Drew Shannon

Drew Shannon grew up in London, Ontario with his parents and two younger sisters. Growing up in such close proximity to one another, they each had their own way to escape from the hectic household. Usually, Drew could be found at a rather large desk that somehow fit into his little room, his pencil frantically scratching across sheets of sketchbook pages. He would trace his favorite Disney characters and copy comic book pages, eventually making up characters and stories of his own. When not doodling Spiderman and dinosaurs on every available piece of paper, he would read fantasy and mystery books. Any literature with a supernatural element was always a favorite, except for a brief period when he consumed every Calvin and Hobbes book in the school library. “I owe a lot of my early drawing education to Bill Watterson,” says Drew.

In high school, he discovered graphic novels, and realized simultaneously that he wasn't as gifted in math and science as he was in art. He loved history, though. “History is a story with characters, setting, and plot, kind of like those comic books I was reading,” says Drew. That’s when he started making comics of his own. He finished the first one on a family vacation at a small cottage his parents had rented for a week. After everyone had gone to bed, he sat up at a small desk, supplies laid out under the glow of a gas lamp. It consisted of six pages, and was about a man who sat alone at night, staring at an old grandfather clock, waiting for the hands to meet at 12. At midnight, the ghostly image of his late wife appeared with a comforting embrace.

After high school, he spent a year taking an arts program at the technical high school in London. There, he not only honed his skills in drawing and painting, but also learned pottery, printmaking, and photography. He learned how to put together a portfolio, and the teachers guided him in choosing how to pursue a postsecondary education based on his strengths. He learned about the illustration degree program at Sheridan College, one of the best places in the country to study illustration. Drew realized that was the best way for him to build a career in the arts and promptly applied to Sheridan. He received an acceptance letter via email late one night, and ran upstairs to his sleeping parents to deliver the good news.

His experience at Sheridan was the best he could have hoped for, and by the time he graduated, he felt he had the skills and knowledge to tackle his next adventure—freelancing.

He moved to Toronto and immediately began to look for work. His first job came from Ottawa Magazine, where he illustrated a spot for an article showcasing wines for the fall. Small jobs grew into larger ones, and he learned many lessons along the way.

Drew feels fortunate to be illustrating full-time for some amazing clients, and is currently working on his biggest project yet: a YA graphic novel series about teen sleuths investigating the paranormal activity in their sleepy east coast village. “I think the 12-year-old me would be proud,” he say

Annick Press books
illustrated by Drew Shannon